Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.

Our main image this week shows resolute members of the Home Guard (Merseyside contingent) parading on St George’s Plateau in December 1941.

They were making sure every step was perfect in front of St George’s Hall before representing Liverpool in a major march-past and salute in London.

Opened in 1854, St George’s Hall has been described by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as one of the finest neo-Grecian buildings in the world.


It was originally designed by architect Harvey Lonsdale Elmes as an imposing civic setting for music festivals, meetings and concerts. But the plan was enlarged to include new assize courts.

This would lead to St George’s Hall becoming one of the biggest public buildings in the country.

The foundation stone for the grand project was laid in 1838 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria. Elmes never saw the completion of his vision as he died in 1847.

Work was continued by Corporation Surveyor John Weightman and structural engineer Robert Rawlinson until architect and designer Charles Cockerell took charge in 1851. Cockerell was responsible for the much of the building’s interiors.

A major restoration of St George’s Hall took place at the start of this century, culminating in its official reopening by Prince Charles on April 23rd 2007.

A year later, in 2008, Ringo Starr played from the roof of the building to more than 50,000 people to mark Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture.